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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultracapacitors: Why, How, and Where is the Technology


The science and technology of ultracapacitors are reviewed for a number of electrode materials, including carbon, mixed metal oxides, and conducting polymers. More work has been done using microporous carbons than with the other materials and most of the commercially available devices use carbon electrodes and an organic electrolytes. The energy density of these devices is 3¯5 Wh/kg with a power density of 300¯500 W/kg for high efficiency (90¯95%) charge/discharges. Projections of future developments using carbon indicate that energy densities of 10 Wh/kg or higher are likely with power densities of 1¯2 kW/kg. A key problem in the fabrication of these advanced devices is the bonding of the thin electrodes to a current collector such the contact resistance is less than 0.1 cm2.

Special attention is given in the paper to comparing the power density characteristics of ultracapacitors and batteries. The comparisons should be made at the same charge/discharge efficiency.

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